The Meaninglessness Of This Here Now

There is a funny little thing about meaning.  It’s not inherent.  Nothing means anything until after we experience, asses, label and judge it.  We drive down the road and there is a sign.  That sign does not mean that this is an intersection where we should stop until we have experienced the sign, remembered what it symbolizes, and brought up the associated meaning.  It is only at that last point that the shape and contrasting colors mean anything.

The same is true of expressions that cross our loved ones faces, turns of phrase, language in general and the announcement of a sale at Macy’s.

Nothing has meaning until after we assign it, consciously or unconsciously.  When I took Landmark Education’s Forum weekend one of the important distinctions I learned was that the human brain is, essentially, a meaning making machine.  (I personally cannot recommend the Forum enough, and cannot recommend Landmark Education as a life choice at all.  I am very grateful for what I learned, and very grateful that I got out before I sank too far into the cult which Landmark education ultimately is.)

Meaning always comes after an occasion, after an experience, after an event.

That means that this very moment, as it is, has no meaning whatsoever.  It is only once it has passed that meaning arises.  In this present moment we are utterly free of meaning and restriction.  Now is only as it is.

Within that instant of freedom we can bask…. but just for now.  😉

Living A Disproved Life

Robert Anton Wilson is one of my favorite authors, social commentators, and American mystics.  His writing always manages to entertain, inform, and illuminate my gray matter.  In the first chapter of Prometheus Rising is an amazing essay: The Thinker & The Prover.

Using that essay as a jump off point I would like to talk about a practice I have been engaged in over the last year, namely: Living a disproved life.

Wilson shows that we go through our lives amidst a sort of self-reinforcing feedback loop.  We hold certain thoughts/opinions and then filter out those phenomenon which stand at odds with our convictions while focusing on those experiences which reinforce our beliefs.

The result is a vicious circle of self-perpetuating mental fortifications which cut us off from a clean view of any reality-possibility which lies outside of that parameter.  This makes it very easy to grow ever more stuck in our mental ruts, and ever more difficult to interact with (or perceive) that which is outside of those ruts.

My father has this lovely habit of asking people for clarifications.  When he doesn’t understand what someone meant, he has no bones of cutting in with, “Hold on.  I think you meant X, when you said Y.  Or, did you mean Z?”  Once the person has clarified their point he’ll thank them with an, “Okay, good.  Got it.  Thanks.” and then he’ll eagerly prompt the person to continue.

To me this is a habitual questioning of the Prover.  For the last couple of years I have tried to build the habit of putting the Prover aside consciously from time to time (when it occurs to me to do so) and to keep the volume on the internal Prover-voice as low as possible.  Like with any habit it has been slow going, but the changes have been remarkable for me, and I think a little noticeable to others.  In any event it has reduced my self generating stress by letting me spend less energy in trying to find ways that I am right.

(DISCLAIMER: It has been a sloooooooow process. 😉 )

One of the main distinctions of the spiritual practice I follow (atma vichara) is that anything said (either internally or externally) in regards to you is something said about you.  If you say to yourself that you are stubborn, that is not a pointer to you but a commentary about you.  These things are characteristics, not inherent to you. Your stubbornness is not what you are, it’s a way in which you show up in the world, a habit, a characteristic behavior.

Looking at Wilson’s point we can see that we self apply the Thinker-Prover mechanism.  We come to believe that we are the things said about us (either by other, or ourselves.)  None of that’s true, it’s just commentary.

So, I think that living a disproved life is an effective way of letting more of what we truly are shine through, and I aim to prove it.


Religion for Modernity

The great gift of Modernity was the differentiation of the three primary spheres of human concern: the I, We, and It realms also known as the Beautiful, the Good, and the True. The disaster was the realm of the True being so convenient, successful, powerful and bratty that it collapsed the other two realms into the depth-less slate of scientific materialism. Still, the differentiation of the realms was a tremendous leap forward in the evolutionary unfolding of Reality.

It’s been of great interest to me lately to work with the different contours of those three realms as applicable to my own spiritual work. In that light I see that there are three basic gems in most of the world’s great religions and spiritual traditions which each apply to one of the three realms. Therefore I present the following list of tenets as the gift of modernity to religious belief (humbly of course. cool )

  1. Know thyself (the I/Beautiful realm)
  2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (the Golden Rule of the We/Good realm)
  3. Pursue health (the It/True realm)

The healthy development of evolution is always a process of differentiate and integrate. Things go pathological when the integration step is missed and the process gets turned into discard and repress. In that light these three differentiated realms and core principles are to be kept distinct, but held together, informing and enriching each other in the free-flowing interplay of what is with what is.

What do you guys think?